'We are very happy to inaugurate this new cruise terminal. As a multinational company we want to deliver excellent service in various ports of the world, just as we do in the city of Valparaíso, Chile,' Agunsa general manager Luis Mancilla said. 'We hope to replicate the success we've had there, and to contribute to the development of the local industry.'
'The new cruise terminal is a first-class building with avant-garde and elegant architecture that will serve as an impressive gateway to the city of Manta for arriving tourists,' added Samuel Franco C., general manager, Terminal Portuario de Manta. He said Ecuadorean tourism officials have great expectations for the building, which has become emblematic not only for the city but the province of Manabí.
In addition to serving cruise ships, the facility will be available to the city for use as a convention center.
Pier extensions, dredging, new equipment
Agunsa's investment in Manta incorporates technologies and systems to improve efficiencies, according to Franco Montalbetti, VP of Agunsa's board. Besides the cruise terminal, projects include extending a pier to 300 meters, four berths totaling 1,000 meters, dredging to 12.5 meters, two post-Panamax gantry cranes, container and freight elevators and a ramp specially designed for cruise ships.
Manta expects 15 cruise calls during the season that opens this month and stretches until August, with further calls possible. The October 2017 through August 2018 season chalked up 22 cruise ship visits, two more than the previous season, and just over 22,000 passengers.
Expanded tourism offerings
Franco said the local tourism sector is motivated to expand its offerings, which will attract more cruise lines and increase the number of calls.
The inauguration was attended by Undersecretary of Ports, Maritime and River Transport Sandra Asanza, Undersecretary of Fisheries Resources José Manuel Costain, Tourism Minister Enrique Ponce de León, Transportation Minister Jorge Hidalgo, Manabí Gov. Javier Santos, Manta Mayor Jorge Zambrano, Chilean Ambassador Eduardo Tapia, US Consul General Andrew Sherr and Captain of the Port of Manta Carlos Javier Nivela, among other authorities.